Avenues supports Movember

15/11/2019

As an organisation where the male ratio of people we support is over 60%, Avenues has been showing it's support for Movember, the international men's health campaign which brings awareness to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men's mental health and suicide prevention.

In Avenues over 63% of the people we support are men and we have a significant male workforce. Skills for Care statistics show that Avenues employ more men in social care than other providers in the south east which is great for the people we support. Malcolm Mitchell, who is an Area Manager at Avenues worked as a Support Worker for a number of years "I was able to build rapport quickly with other males we support through football and fishing!"

Mental health and suicide prevention is particularly prevalent for Movember this year. According to the Men’s Health Forum, 75% of suicides are by men, with suicide being the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 35. Avenues takes it's employees health and well-being very seriously. Our occupational health advisors, whom every employer can contact, are collaborating with the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) to constantly improve the support and assistance they offer. 

All Avenues staff can utilise the Employee Assistance Programme, which includes a 24 hour counselling service 365 days a year and these services are being further circulated to staff throughout the month. It was something Malcolm took advantage of after a bereavement "It's been a really positive experience. If your mind is racing at 1am , you can talk to someone, that is there for you" says Malcolm. The service also extends to immediate male family members of female staff. Department Manager Becki also appreciated the support of the organisation when her husband recently went through treatment for cancer "Although my husband wouldn't admit it, I think he was really pleased I could have time off work. My manager has been really lovely throughout it all and couldn't have been more supportive" says Becki. 

In addition the organisation runs Mental Health Awareness courses for it's staff, principally to assist when supporting people and Mental Health drop-ins for staff. Avenues also offers regular Mindfulness courses which can help with stress and anxiety and is about to begin a Mindfulness weekly drop-in session. "Mindfulness is for everyone" says Course Leader Day Wells, "it's a space to share, talk and start the week with a fresh perspective".

The month was introduced by Steven Parker, Group Director of Housing and Development and Jo Goodbody, Senior Learning and Development Partner with a video message.

Staff have also been showing their support by donning fetching moustaches, traditional 'Movember' wear!